New Delhi: A conference on Lokpal on Sunday
felt that higher judiciary should be kept out of the proposed
law against corruption but was divided on bringing the Prime
Minister under its ambit.
The Round Table meeting which was attended by two
former chief justices of Supreme Court and four members of the
Lokpal drafting committee including retired apex court judge
Santosh Hegde among others felt there should be a separate
mechanism to deal with any instances of corruption in the
Speaking to media persons after taking part in the
day-long round table conference, under the banner of Citizens
for Public Accountability(CPA), retired Supreme Court chief
justices MN Venkatachalaiah and JS Verma said " Judicial
accountability has to be there but not as part of Lokpal. To
curb the corruption in the higher judiciary, a better
mechanism is required".
Claiming that the round table had a consensus over the
issue of higher judiciary be kept out of Lokpal, the retired
judges said the civil society representatives in the joint
committee to draft the Lokpal bill felt the same way.
However, on the issue as to whether Lokpal should
have jurisdiction over the Prime Minister, they said there
were differences of opinion among the participants and that
the issue should be left to Parliament for consideration.
"We believe that he (Prime Minister) should be
accountable only politically looking into the instability in
the state and its international ramifications. However there
was divergent opinions and we could not come to a conclusion
and left it to Parliament to take a decision," they said.
Besides emphasizing for an anti-corruption law and
its enforcement in the country, the issues pertaining to
seamless integration of CVC, CBI and Lokpal and also creation
of strong and independent Lokayuktas in states were on the
agenda of the round table conference.
The conference was organised jointly by Lok Satta,
Centre for Media Studies, Foundation for Democratic Reforms
and Transparency International India under the banner of CPA.
Apart from Justice Venkatachalaiah, Justice Verma, the
members of the government`s drafting committee-Karnataka Lok
Ayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan,
his son Prashant Bhushan and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal and
some eninent jurists, retired Chief Election Commissioner T S
Krishnamurthy and former Chief Vigilance commissioner Pratyush
Sinha participated in the conferenc.